Mindful Breathing

Dear students & friends:
„The way out is in“, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh wrote: We can find calm in our own mind.
Mindfulness Meditation is a training of a calm and focused attention, using an anchor to connect with the present moment. We observe turbulences from a distance, rebalancing inside.

Breathing technique:
People under stress, anxiety or pain breathe more quickly and less regularly. Meditators have a slower breath, indicating reduced automatic responses, better mood and improved health, James Nestor „Breath-The New Science of a Lost Art“ 2010.
As we breathe the abdominal organs rise and fall 1 to two inches, Danny Penman pointed out in his book „The Art of Breathing“, 2022, pumping oxygen through our lymphatic system and transporting out toxins, massaging organs like the liver and joints of the spine. The gentle Rising and Falling of the breath stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and therefore has a calming effect on body and mind.

In our Meditations we focus on our Breath, following our whole In-Breath and following our whole Out-Breath. Aware of Breathing in. Aware of Breathing out. So simple, but something we are not used to, as we mainly breathe without being aware of it, We are not maintaining attention in daily life, as we are distracted many times by our thoughts. Focusing on the breath or your chosen anchor improves self-regulation, the capability to concentrate and to calm down.
In NL Mindful we use the breath as an anchor to ground ourselves in the present moment. We call this technique Anchoring. However, it might be challenging to focus on the breath for some students. In this case chose something different to focus on: You can use a sound or my voice as an anchor or the mental notes we use or you use an object in your surrounding as an anchor.
When you hear my voice saying “Breathing in deep, Breathing out slow“ in our meditations, use it as signal to get in touch with the anchor you have chosen. If you like you can breathe in a little bit deeper and breathe out a little bit slower, but only if this feels right for you, if you breath wants to stay short let it be short. Do not force your breath.

Safety Anchor:
Additionally you can chose a safety Anchor as a stabilizing anchor of attention, a place that feels safe for you. That can be your breath in the nostrils, your hands resting on your legs, your feet on the ground, the birds sound, a cushion, on object with a special meaning to you, or a mental image or a mental note. For each person it is something else. Start with your practice with your Safety Anchor and return to if you feel stressed during the practice. The more tangible the anchor is the easier it is to return to. (David A. Treleaven). Practice within the zone, in which you feel stable, present and regulated. If it is impossible to focus your attention, stop the practice.

Long Exhale Breathing:
Explore the long exhale Breathing:
Allow your breath to grow deeper when breathing in and slower when breathing out. We breathe out twice as long:
Counting in silence until 3 or 4 when breathing in and until 6 or 8 when breathing out.
Form your lips as you would whistle when breathing out, letting the breath out slowly with the natural sound arising
Repeating in silence:
Deep- when Breathing in
Slow- when Breathing out
This is the long exhale Breathing.
If your breath wants to stay short let it be short.

What are we actually doing while meditating?

Attending & Releasing
We attend to sensations, emotions or sounds and we release them again, gently and kindly. Becoming aware of the stories our mind is creating around sounds, sensations and thoughts. Letting go of future, past, worries, fears, plans, projects in our mind. If something is arising, that feels too stressful or painful: shift your attention to your anchor or Safe Anchor. If this is not possible: stop the practice.

Lost attention- Coming back:
During the practice, thoughts will keep popping up. This is normal, this is our restless mind. We just notice where our mind has gone and return to our anchor each time we lost attention, gently and kindly, without blaming ourselves. Lost attention- Coming back. That’s the practice.

Mindful Breathing in daily life:
Integrating Mindful Breathing during the day will improve your breathing, your concentration and relaxation. Constant stress ages our cells, so it’s worth keeping up the practice and to pause for even just a few minutes for Mindful Breathing, in the supermarket, in the traffic, while walking, while having your tea. Check in if there are any tensions or stress signals in body and mind and release them.
Keeping in mind the mental note:
Breathing In- deep
Breathing Out- slow
Breathing In- calm
Breathing Out- ease

Mindful Breathing is very helpful when we feel restless. If you feel too restless to sit, then practice while walking or moving, you can listen to your Breathing Space/ Meditation while going through your home or garden.
Chose a repetitive daily activity and see if you can practice Mindful Breathing and letting thoughts arise and go again, with the breath as your anchor to stay focused and grounded. Become aware kindly. Don’t blame yourself. Train the muscle of attention again and again in a gentle way.
Send us a message to get the Meditation PAUSE for free.
Take the audio with you on your Phone, to have it at hand wherever your are: contact@northletters.com

Be kind to yourself-